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A Guide To Season Win Total Bets

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Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks on during a Denver Broncos mini camp at UCHealth Training Center.
Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Before the start of the NFL season, one of the great pastimes of football fans is to go through the schedules of their favorite teams to predict what their record will be after the regular season concludes. In the legal sports betting markets in the United States, that pastime can now be turned into profit with season win total betting markets. With this market, bettors can predict how teams will fare in the upcoming season in a unique twist on futures betting.

In this guide to season win total betting, we will go over how these bets work, how to place a season win total bet, and what strategies bettors should keep in mind before locking in their picks. 

What are season win total bets?

A season win total bet is exactly what it sounds like, as bettors are tasked with predicting the number of wins that a team will collect in the football season to come. In this market, the goal is not to predict an exact number of wins. Instead, they are structured like an over/under wager where the goal is to predict whether a team will finish over or under the number of wins posted by a sportsbook.

There are so many factors to consider when betting on season win totals, as the NFL can be incredibly volatile. While baseball teams play 162 regular season games, and hockey and basketball play 82 apiece, NFL teams play just 17 regular season games. That means that one slip or one upset win by a team can drastically change their chances of reaching their season win total.

How do season win total bets work?

Season win totals work similarly to other over/under betting markets, though this market pertains to the number of wins a team amasses in a season instead of the amount of scoring that takes place in a game. Bookmakers will set a preseason win total for each team, based on the expectations surrounding those teams. Bettors can then wager on whether they think a team will exceed that total or fall short of it.

For example, a sportsbook may set a team’s season win total at 8.5 games for the upcoming NFL season. That team would need to reach nine or more wins to hit the over on their win total, with eight or fewer wins resulting in the under being the winning side. In most cases, the odds for season win totals are in the neighborhood of -110, meaning that a $110 bet would win $100, though that can vary by team and sportsbook.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is pressured by linebacker Micah Parsons (11) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium.
Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

How to place a season win total bet at DraftKings

Placing a season win total bet at DraftKings Sportsbook is incredibly straightforward. Bettors can go to the NFL betting section of DraftKings and go to the Team Futures portion of their NFL menu. There, the Regular Season Win markets for each team can be viewed, where bettors are able to see the season win totals and odds for each team going into this season.

Once bettors have decided which of those season win total bets they want to make, they can click or tap each of those options to add them to their betslip. Once added to the betslip, bettors will enter the amount of money that they want to risk on each season win total they select. DraftKings will automatically show the potential payout for each of those bets once the risk amount is entered, and bettors can hit the Place Bet button to lock in their wager.

Season win total betting strategies

One of the things that makes season win total betting so much fun is that there are so many strategic elements that come into play. Unlike single-game bets such as moneyline betting or point spread betting, bettors are wagering on the fate of a team over their full 17-game season. This requires bettors to think about the bigger picture for a team, which can be challenging, but can also open up value in these bets.

The most important piece of strategy that bettors must employ is looking at the schedule as a whole. It can be tempting when projecting season win totals to simply look at each game and opine on whether a team will win them one by one. But each NFL game is not played in a vacuum, as different scheduling quirks can help or hurt teams over the course of the season.

How scheduling affect season win total bets

For example, teams that play in consecutive road games or have to travel long distances to play on Thursday Night Football are traditionally at a disadvantage in those games. Therefore, simply looking at one of those matchups and assessing that one team is better than the other with no further context is irresponsible. Bettors who want to win in season win total markets must dive into the schedule to identify potential advantages and disadvantages.

Within each team’s schedule are six division games each season, two against each other member of their division. Some divisions are much more treacherous for teams to navigate than others, which bettors must also think about when locking in their season win totals.

Consider injuries when betting season win totals

Bettors should also think about the potential for injury for any team that they are thinking about betting on in this market. A team with an injury-prone quarterback, for example, could see their season go up in smoke in a hurry if that player goes down. Judging the regularity with which teams deal with injuries and how prepared they are to deal with those injuries is a very important step to take.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) catches a pass and runs it for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium.
Photo Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Can I parlay season win total bets?

The ability to parlay season win totals bets varies depending on the rules of each sportsbook, though the ability to do so is uncommon. To verify whether or not season win total bets can be parlayed, bettors can check the house rules section of their preferred sportsbook. Alternatively, they can simply select two or more season win total bets on one betslip, where they will be told whether or not a parlay is possible.

The reason that season win total parlays are often not allowed is that there is a lot of room for those picks to be correlated. If season win total parlays were allowed, bettors could wager on one team in a division to go over their total and one team from that same division to go under their total. If one of those bets were to win, the probability of the other winning would increase, something bookmakers want to avoid being exposed to.

How do ties impact a season win total bet?

While rare, ties are a part of the range of possibilities in each NFL game. With overtime being shortened from 15 minutes to 10 minutes in the regular season, there is less time in each overtime period for a tie to be broken. How these ties impact the outcome of season win total bets depends on which side of the total a bettor has.

The number that bettor wagers on in a season win total bet is not lowered or altered after a tie. This means that a tie is as good as a loss in the context of this betting markets. Those who took a team to go under their win total will see a tie from that team as a positive, while bettors who took that team to go over their win total would be negatively impacted by that same tie.

What happens if there is a push?

There are situations where season win total bets result in a push rather than a win or a loss. For this to happen, a team’s final win total for the season would need to match the number set by bookmakers before the season. This is only possible with win totals that are whole numbers, as season win totals that include a half a win will either land over or under that amount.

In the event that a team’s win total is an exact match to the number set by bookmakers, bettors simply receive the money they risked back from that bet. This is a bit of an anticlimactic result after a full season  waiting for the outcome of a bet, but it is better than the alternative of a losing wager.